Music / Creative Coding degrees

Don’t think this has been posted before but i was curious if we could get a dialogue open about people who went to University for creative computing / music technology degrees and their opinions on it!

I did a lot of research into the Sonology program offered in The Hague, NL and also Goldsmiths Music and Technology degree in London. Any more of these notable programs?



Also interested in this topic! It seems that CCRMA at Stanford offers several different degrees too.

in the US, off the top of my head

CNMAT at UC Berkeley
UC San Diego
maybe Wesleyan

@laborcamp and I teach in the Multimedia Environments program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. It’s an interdisciplinary media arts program. We cover sound and creative coding within wider interdisciplinary media arts practices! Our program is also very strong in installation and performance based media art (often times leveraging creative coding and sound as components)

For direct Creative Coding, you might also look at UCLA’s DMA program, it’s where Processing lives

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I got a BFA in computer art at the State University of New York at Buffalo. It was affordable for New York state residents and you got out of it what you put in. I wouldn’t recommend it for anybody out of state or who already has a degree, but it worked out well for me. It has given me a foundation of knowledge that has helped me continue to explore creative computing in my free time and connect with other like-minded colleagues.

I can’t comment on any other degree programs, but for non-degree learning I know people who have gone to School for Poetic Computation in NYC and have heard good things about it from them. It’s more for people who already have programming experience. You can still attend without programming knowledge but would need to catch up before attending and might not get as much out of it.

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I was just searching around lines for information on this very topic and was pleasantly surprised to find there was already a thread for it. I’ve been adjuncting in the evenings lately, and it’s gotten me interested in going back to school. I came to this lines-y stuff we do by way of an MFA in poetry, which got me interested in intermedia poetics, which led me to SuperCollider, then eurorack, then crow, then norns, and ultimately back to SuperCollider (but for norns). I find that I’m spending a lot of my free time on this stuff but spending most of my waking hours on an office job that I don’t find particularly satisfying, and it’s occurred to me that maybe I should make the thing I want to spend all my time doing the thing I actually spend all my time doing.

I’m not particularly interested in another MFA, so I think a PhD is what I’m looking for. So far, I’ve been looking at CU Boulder’s PhD in Intermedia Art, Writing, and Performance as well as Brown’s PhD program in Music and Multimedia Composition. But ideally, I’d like to apply to more than 2 programs. Does anyone have any recommendations for other programs in this area that I could look at and potentially apply to?

Ideally, I’m looking for programs that 1) would be inviting to someone with an academic background in poetry, not music (i.e., my music theory chops are not great, almost nonexistent, certainly nowhere near what someone with a degree in music would be coming in with), 2) are full time, 3) confer a PhD (I’d like to at least be able to apply for tenure-track positions in the future), and 4) offer full tuition remission and a stipend to live on (at least to some students, but ideally to everyone; if I’m going to be doing this full time, I’ll need a way to pay rent and buy food without having another job). It’d be nice to not have to take the GRE again too, though I’m more flexible in that regard. Any ideas?

  • RPI (Electronic Arts Ph.D)
  • McGill (Music Technology M.A., Ph.D, rigorous)
  • Indiana (Computer Music M.M. …can’t speak for the quality, but there’s the Xenakis link)
  • Mills (actually not sure what’s up w them these days…a lot of experimental music history there, but looks like they merged w Northeastern?)
  • Peabody Institute (Computer Music Composition …heard mixed things, but attached to a great traditional music school w trad D.M.A.'s, etc)
  • Carnegie Mellon (Music and Technology M.S.)

Miller Puckette and Tom Erbe are at UCSD, Curtis Roads is at UCSB, Max Matthews has sadly departed but I’d guess his influence is still felt at Stanford.

Had a friend who went the Sonology route and loved it. Trouble finding work in the States–he wanted to stay in Europe, but it was his partner’s turn to play career Bingo. However, the degree was affordable, so he harbored no regrets.


This is extremely helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time and care to put this together! After looking into these and chatting with a couple friends, I think my list of programs to apply to has gone from 2 to 9. What I’ve got right now is (in no particular order)

  1. Boulder Intermedia Art, Writing, & Performance
  2. Brown U Music & Multimedia Composition
  3. Rensselaer Electronic Arts PhD
  4. McGill Music Technology PhD
  5. UC San Diego Computer Music PhD
  6. UC Santa Barbara Media Arts & Technology
  7. UC Berkeley Center for New Media (English)
  8. Stanford CCRMA PhD (English)
  9. Wesleyan Ethnomusicology PhD

McGill might be a long shot for me, since they seem to be looking for people who are trained as musicians in a more traditional sense but are looking to deepen their knowledge of computer music techniques, and that’s not really my situation. But I’m interested enough in getting out of the US to leave it on there, on the off chance they would find my background interesting or a good fit for an incoming cohort. In a similar vein, I think I’d have a better shot at acceptance to the programs at Stanford and Berkeley by way of the English department, since that’s where my academic background is (and still where a lot of my interest lies — I’m interested in computer music primarily as one facet of multimedia poetics)


Glad it helped!

Doesn’t quite fit your criteria, but you might be interested in scoping Bard, too (not necessarily for applying).

Bonnie Jones is an artist who got an MFA there and works with language/poetry/text and electronic music. Could be worth contacting her about other academic goings on in that field.


oh wow, absolutely. I’m watching this now and feeling utterly blown away

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Not sure it fits but Columbia has a sound art MFA and the graduate program in composition at Princeton might be interesting.
If going overseas is an option, it could be worth looking into Durham University’s dept. of music and the music, music technology or composition programs at the University of Sussex. There’s also Digital Music and Sound Arts at the University of Brighton and Sonic Arts at Goldsmiths.
Postdigital Lutherie at Linz University of Arts in Austria could be interesting. Also Music Technology at Uniarts Helsinki.


+1…Jeff Snyder runs their Electronic Music program and is a great guy, plus super smart. And there’s history there, w Milton Babbitt and the RCA Mark II (Columbia deserves credit there, too).


Definitely check out Lori Emerson and Mark Amerika, I believe they’re co-chairs of the IAWP department at CU Boulder and have connections to multimedia poetics. I got my undergrad there (in music comp/tech) and am still pretty connected, they also just upgraded their Black Box Theater with a 40 channel ambisonic system and 360º video projection.